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New Year, New Me?

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The start of a new year provides us with the chance to reevaluate ourselves, our habits, our aspirations and our relationships. It’s a global moment of reflection and realization, where we decide what to change and what to keep for the new year. 

It’s a comforting thought that someone else is most likely reflecting on the same ideals as you before the clock strikes 12. The possibility of taking on a new identity or changing a lifestyle provides the motivation (or excuse) to create new goals.

Or as they are controversially known as in January: New Year’s resolutions.  

While New Year’s resolutions have been facing some heat recently, they are undoubtedly a great starting point for achieving a goal.

As a senior of Hills shared, “For some people, they start an incentive.”

Despite their usual vague and general nature, they have become somewhat of a global tradition. 

The students of Hills shared their thoughts as well as their own New Year’s resolutions for 2024 with The Beacon. While some may be more specific and personal than others, that’s the beauty of New Year’s resolutions; they can be whatever you want them to be.

Some students of Hills shared resolutions regarding the romantic aspects of their life, such as “getting over a crush” or “to be free of relationships.”

Or as Senior Ren Nebet shared, “to get a girlfriend.” 

Along with romantic resolutions, a common ambition among the Hills’ student body is to increase their academic productivity. As we all know, high school is a very stressful time in our lives.

With the pressure of adulthood and colleges looming closer each day, there’s also the academic stress of getting good grades.

Whether it’s to “be more organized when it comes to studying,” a resolution of a Hills junior, or as a senior shared, to “study more for AP calc,” these academic New Year’s resolutions are the stepping stones to achieve the overall goal of “getting better grades.”

Although these resolutions are quite general, The Beacon also received personal resolutions that have a deep connection with the students themselves. Whether it be about self-care, reinvention or just furthering a hobby, these goals mean something to each individual.

Senior Jordan Quinones told The Beacon that he would like to be an inspiration to others. “My New Year’s resolution is to become [a] person that others can look up to and take initiative in building their own character.” 

Victoria Evans, a senior, has an ambitious goal in her reading journey, to “read 100 books this year and [a] total [of] 50k pages.”

A freshman hopes “to deal with my trauma in healthy ways.” 

The flexibility and motivation that New Year’s resolutions offer are what seem to attract most. A junior added that “it gives you something to work towards, too, and helps you start the year off with a positive mindset.”

However, not everyone is fond of them because they may start out unrealistic with no true plan to accomplish the goal.

“A lot of people will try to fulfill it for a week and either forget about it or give up on it,” Junior Nena Shah told The Beacon.

A senior contributed by saying that New Year’s resolutions could “be overwhelming.”

New Year’s resolutions might also blur our perception of what is considered progress.

A Hills senior couldn’t have said it better: “I decided to head into this year with the mindset that progress is not linear. As long as I’m happy and healthy, life is good, [and I’m] getting enough sleep and eating delicious food whenever I want.” 

The Hills staff also have some resolutions for the New Year. The Beacon sat down with eight of our school’s assistant principals to find out what the goal is for their respective departments.

Many of the departments seemed focused on forming interpersonal relationships and communicating more between the student body and the staff.

Mr. Bardossas, AP of Security, said that he wanted to “have the deans be more involved in student interests.” To achieve this, they are striving to always “be ears for the students and have an open door.”

A similar goal came from the guidance department. Mr. Ebanks said that his goal year-round is to have guidance counselors know their students well. He stated, “I think it’s really important for adults in a school building, especially counselors, to build relationships with their students, more than just a student being an OSIS number, or a student ID number. More than it being a student that either passed all of their classes, failed all of their classes or failed some classes.” 

Ebanks hopes to have guidance counselors push into classrooms more before the end of the year. He said this will help with visibility, allowing students to know that guidance counselors are here to support them.

Some departments wanted more peer to peer communication, allowing students to collaborate more effectively in class.

Our AP of English, Ms. Troy said her goal is for more class engagement and discussion. “We decided on this goal since coming off of the COVID-19 pandemic, where many adults, as well as students, found themselves isolated communicating through devices and texting. We feel that we need to set some goals to hone these skills.”

To achieve this, Troy said that during the English teachers’ weekly professional development sessions, they include trying to find the best way to build class discussions.

Ms. Sanchez had a similar resolution for Social Studies. “I want our department to be really forward with our thinking on how we’re engaging students.”

She posed a couple questions for the teachers: “Are we being creative in our classrooms? Are we modeling good behavior for our kids? What are we doing as teachers to facilitate that engagement and interest, but also skills so that we’re preparing you for college?”

The AP of Math, Mr. Jones also wants his students to discuss and collaborate more. In addition, he hopes math students are more confident in their work, “We really want to encourage students to rely on their own thinking. [Students] have a lot of knowledge and we want you to bring it out.”

Jones has also started implementing new strategies in math classes, like “three reading” and “think-pair-share.” However, in 2024, he wants students’ feedback too. “I really want to get an understanding of how students feel about how we do instruction in our school.” He has a plan for that, too. “I want to create a circle where students are voicing what they’d like to see in their math classrooms in a way that makes it more real for them.”

Ms. Kim’s goal was for the science department to help Hills students grow. She said her 2024 goal is “for the department to continue growing. You know, we want to grow so that our students can grow too.” 

The science curriculum is also growing, with the state recently switching to the “New Visions” living environment curriculum. Kim added that as science teachers, “we are also still learning about breakthroughs in science, learning about new curriculum [and] learning about our students every year.”

The world language department here at Hills is also undergoing some changes in their curriculum standards. These changes that come from the DOE include embedding more culture into the structure of the lessons. A goal of the language department, according to their administrator Ms. Cho, is to be able to apply these new standards by the end of the school year.

“We learn language in a way that’s not in isolation, but more in a real-world context,” added Ms. Cho. “The purpose is to give students the authentic experience in which language comes alive.” 

Overall, Sanchez raised an important point, which is that the start of a new year is just one time that we are reminded that we should reflect. She adds that she “would do this after marking period 1 or the change between the fall term and the spring term.”

Sanchez encourages students to think, “Am I where I want to be? And even if I am, I [think], where do I want to go next?”

Jones agreed, “Everyone should have a goal for self improvement because you always want to be better today than you were yesterday. That’s how I like to live my life.”

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About the Contributor
Athena Vishudanand
Athena Vishudanand, Assistant Editor-in-Chief
Athena, a junior and an aspiring lawyer in the Law Academy has a plethora of interests that fulfill her life. She finds immense joy in reading and writing and channels this passion as a contributor to The Beacon. She also has a soft spot for investigative journalism and finds a quiet beauty within the search for the truth and the freedom of the press. Among and outside of the Forest Hills High School community she is also a writer for the Law Academy Newsletter, a black belt in the martial art of Shotokan, a member of the Moot Court and Mock Trial Competition Team and is an avid watcher of all things, especially (but not limited to) those pertaining to the Marvel Universe.
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